Palestinian FM: Arab League Must Help Sue UK over Balfour Declaration

Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Maliki. (Photo: File)

Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Maliki, urged the General Secretary of the Arab League on Monday to help the Palestinian Authority to sue the United Kingdom over the Balfour Declaration of 1917 which resulted in what is known as the Palestinian ‘Catastrophe’.

Speaking on behalf of Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, Al-Maliki delivered a speech at the Arab League’s annual summit, which is being held this year in the Mauritanian capital of Nouakchott.

Al-Maliki urged Arab countries to “help us bring a suit against the British government over the ominous Balfour Declaration which resulted in the Nakba (Catastrophe) for the Palestinian people, ” stating the need to open ” Israeli war crimes profiles, which were committed against our Palestinian people since the end of the British Mandate…”

Al-Maliki added, “We welcome the French initiative and the consultation meeting which resulted from it,” adding, ” We call on Arab states to support this initiative based on the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 and all International resolutions.”

Nearly a century ago, a letter sent from British Foreign Secretary, Arthur James Balfour, to Baron Rothschild, a British Jewish leader, declared British support for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”

Palestinians have since viewed the declaration as paving the way for the creation of the State of Israel at the expense of the land’s original inhabitants.

The declaration was made before the British had wrested control of Palestine from the Ottoman Empire, and was not made public until several years after the World War I, in 1920.

By that time, Britain had been formally granted a mandate over Palestine by the League of Nations, and was struggling with its contradictory obligations of “rewarding” Arabs for their support during the war, while also fulfilling their pledge to create a Jewish state.

After World War II, British forces withdrew from Palestine, leaving it in the hands of the newly created United Nations, which favored partition.

The decision led to the 1948 war between Arab nations, including Palestinians, and Jewish immigrants from Europe, ultimately resulting in the creation of the state of Israel and the expulsion of more than 700,000 Palestinians from their homes inside its borders.

In February, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) said in a statement that Great Britain bore “the primary responsibility” for “historical injustice in Palestine.”

The 27th Arab Summit has kicked off  with the participation of seven Arab presidents and dozens of foreign ministers.

(PC, Masr Alarabia, MA’AN)

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1 Comment

  1. A tiny correction: The mandate wasn’t formal til 24 July 1922 – not in 1920.
    The idea of suing is brilliant, but what exactly would the PA be suing for?
    Going by al-Maliki’s words the lawsuit might want Security Council member Britain to do something to realise the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, which is just UN SC Resolutions 242 and 338: Israel in its 4 June 1967 borders and recognition of a sovereign ‘Palestine’, in return for peace and security for Israel for all time.
    But if the Balfour Declaration is really so bad – and it is – then much more would have to be sued for: the transformation of re-united Palestine into one democratic state.
    What are the details? We need more info on this.

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